Doubts over plan to ease congestion on major Portsmouth road

Traffic converges from two lanes to one lane on the Eastern Road just south of Portsmouth College.'''Pictures: Ian Hargreaves  (112963-1)
Traffic converges from two lanes to one lane on the Eastern Road just south of Portsmouth College.'''Pictures: Ian Hargreaves (112963-1)
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PLANS to turn a major road in Portsmouth into a dual carriageway are being reconsidered.

The city council announced plans in autumn 2011 to change Eastern Road back into dual carriageway.

But, the council is now thinking again after safety concerns were raised over vehicles turning right into side streets at the south end of the road.

Luke Stubbs, conservative transport group spokesman, said: ‘The Eastern 
Road remains a congestion hotspot.

‘The flow of traffic northbound is much improved since a second lane was reinstated and an extra southbound lane would have eliminated the nasty wait just by the college that drivers experience on a daily basis.

‘The road was a dual carriageway until about 15 years ago, so I think any safety concerns are overblown.

‘Putting things back as they were is a good way of improving traffic flow in the city and would do more good than the pedestrianisation of Hampshire Terrace that the administration is so keen on.’

The changes to the Eastern Road include the removal of the traffic light junction at Eastern Road, Kirpal Road and East Shore Way, near Milton, and it being replaced with a pedestrian crossing-controlled lights to help improve traffic flow.

The junction at the top of Velder Avenue has been modified to stop drivers turning right into Milton Road.

This has reduced the length of time cars wait at the traffic lights.

The southbound 30mph speed limit was to be extended to help vehicles turning in and out of Sword Sands Road and an extra lane was to be built at the southbound end of the road.

The total cost of these changes would have reached £470,000 and taken approximately four months to complete at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012.

A spokesman for Portsmouth City Council said: ‘We have a lot of proposals to consider.

These include the extension of the southbound two lane section further into Portsmouth, by removing hatching and centre islands.

‘But these measures need to be carefully considered as removal could lead to an increase in accidents, caused by vehicles slowing or stopping to make right turns into side streets.

‘Eastern Road northbound does not suffer the same issues as there are no right turns in this section of road so a two-lane section has been easier to implement.

‘We are evaluating these changes to determine how successful the schemes have been, and analysing changes in traffic patterns.’